The Midlothian, Va., club and ACAC have recently finalized terms to offer a joint membership package that will allow users access to the 260-acre golf course, clubhouse, restaurants and other amenities, along with the fitness facilities, tennis courts and swimming pools at two of the fitness chain’s properties.
In a bid to further hone its business model as a public club, Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Va., has struck a deal with ACAC, an area fitness chain, the Richmond (Va.) BizSense reported.
The two organizations recently finalized terms to offer a joint membership package that will allow users access to the 260-acre golf course, its clubhouse, restaurants and other amenities, along with the fitness facilities, tennis courts and swimming pools at ACAC’s Midlothian location four miles away and its gym at West Broad Village, BizSense reported.
Giff Breed, who with his brother Alan purchased the public course two years ago for $3 million and have put millions more dollars’ worth of work into the property, said the deal is the next step in their plan to try to redefine the club, BizSense reported.
“The ACAC partnership excites us because I feel like we’re pioneering the new model of a country club and entertainment venue,” Breed said. “It’s going to define the way country clubs operate in the future.”
Joyce Steed, general manager of ACAC’s Midlothian location, said the company was intrigued by Breed’s effort at Independence and described the deal as an experiment worth trying, BizSense reported.
“We’re going to start small but hopefully grow it over time into something really meaningful,” Steed said. “I don’t know that many fitness clubs have done this or how many golf clubs have done this, so we don’t even know what to expect.”
Breed’s hunch is that people will be willing to pay to get the golf, tennis and fitness facilities that any club would have, without the typical country club restrictions like food and drink minimums, initiation fees or the need to be recommended by a current member to join, BizSense reported.
Individual membership for the Independence/ACAC combo will run $305 a month for golf, tennis, fitness and swimming. “Most country clubs, you’re either single or you have a family (membership),” he said. “Ours is where you can break it up to the person so there’s no wasted money. It has to be a la carte.”
But there is still one part of the country club lifestyle that Breed is working to replicate. “The challenge is really delivering on the social piece of it,” he said. “Private clubs have the advantage of being more social.”
Breed is working to create a social scene at the property by adding activities like a summer concert series, dance groups, and art and cooking programs. Its restaurants have been upgraded, and its pro shop has been converted into a broader retail store, BizSense reported.
“I don’t think we’ve unlocked the code totally, but we’re at least trying things that are consistent, I believe, with where these venues are going to end up.”
Nearly two years into his ownership of Independence, Breed said his grand plan is still a work in progress. The initial steps were upgrades to the course and the facilities, which are largely completed. He also envisions creating a boutique hotel onsite, along with commercial space, BizSense reported.
“We’re still trying to get there. You always think you can do it faster than you can really do it,” he said. “We got the golf course where we want it, got the restaurant, the shop. Those are the big pillars. I’m feeling guardedly optimistic.”